Published 2 May 2008
The Auckland Regional Council released a draft regional parking strategy yesterday, calling on local councils to reduce the amount of all-day parking in business & shopping centres as public transport improves.
Submissions close on Friday 4 July.
Among its proposals:
unbundling parking from apartment ownership or office leaseslicensing to control long-term parkingphasing out long-stay parkingshared parkingpreparing a comprehensive parking management plan for centres, andcharging for the park part of park-&-ride.
Transport & urban development committee chairman Christine Rose said: “To continually increase the amount of parking available to match the increase in commuter traffic is not sustainable. Abundant parking encourages people to drive, usually alone. There’s little sense in continuing to increase the availability of cheap parking at the same time as investing in better public transport & walking & cycling facilities.”
She said the draft strategy proposed a consistent, regionwide approach to parking for the first time. It was previously managed on a council-by-council basis, “with little regard to the ways it can work against the region’s overall transport, economic & environmental goals.
“The draft strategy recognises that every centre or area will have different requirements. The trigger for reducing the availability of long-term parking in individual centres would be improved public transport services to those areas. As public transport services improve, councils would be encouraged to give priority to short-term parking on streets & in publicly owned parking buildings & lots.”
Cllr Rose said short-term parking would still be needed to support the region’s businesses, by making it easy for people to access shopping & business centres for short stays: “It’s all about finding the right balance between so much parking that people continue to use their cars for every conceivable trip, and so little that people cannot get a park when they need one for short-stay shopping or business trips. That balance will be different for every centre.”
The draft strategy also proposes regionwide policies on parking on arterial roads, the provision of park-&-ride facilities and parking in high-density developments.
The draft regional parking strategy seeks to support land-use intensification by:
applying good urban design principles to parking in high-density centresusing district plan rules & other methods to encourage shared parkingimproving public transport ahead of – or at the same time as – new developments so developers can confidently reduce the amount of parking.
“Experience worldwide shows people living in compact developments close to public transport tend to own fewer cars and to travel less by car. Too much parking in compact developments increases the cost of the residential units and can make them less attractive places to live if they are dominated by parked cars. On the other hand, insufficient or badly planned parking for residents & visitors may also make higher-density developments less attractive and may result in parking spilling over into adjacent residential areas.
“The draft regional parking strategy recommends that regional guidelines on parking standards be prepared to help councils implement the region’s plans for urban intensification.”
The draft strategy would require park-&-ride facilities to be developed:
before an area experiences major traffic congestionwhere they are well served by main roadswhere they won’t impact negatively on sustainable developmentin appropriate areas served by quality, direct & relatively frequent public transportbut not next to stations or interchanges at the centre of existing or planned transport-oriented development – unless the parking is a temporary use only.
Continuing the notion that parking should be reduced for high-density residential development, the draft strategy says: “Unnecessarily high provision for parking in higher-density residential developments increases development costs, reduces affordability, is inconsistent with the objective of encouraging greater use of public transport, can reduce urban design quality and does not support urban intensification.
“Reductions in the use of the car may not, however, be matched by an equivalent reduction in car ownership & residential parking requirements. Households are likely to choose to own a car (even though its use may be limited) because of the convenience, accessibility & independence benefits it confers.
“Looking to the future, options such as joint ownership of, or access to, a pool of cars through car clubs could reduce the need for individual ownership.”
The draft strategy says parking standards for higher-density developments vary considerably across the region: “Auckland City’s residential 8 zone parking standards for 2-bedroom apartments with a gross floor area over 75m² are a minimum of one space & a maximum of 2 spaces/unit, plus one visitor space/5units. North Shore City requires a minimum of 2 spaces plus 0.5 visitor space/unit for units with a gross floor area greater than 50m². The corresponding minimum requirements for a 10-unit development are 12 parking spaces (Auckland) & 25 spaces (North Shore).
“It could be argued that the current residential parking standards are a response to the historically poor quality of passenger transport serving parts of the region, and high car ownership. In addition, some high-density residential developments were located in areas which had poor passenger transport service. This situation is changing. Auckland City is introducing what are, in effect, reduced minimum residential standards for growth areas such as Panmure. Waitakere City is intending to remove minimum parking requirements for any residential activity on small lot sizes (essentially apartments) in the New Lynn town centre core.
“As there is no agreed mechanism for adjusting parking provision in relation to circumstances, there is the potential for the process of change to result in a variety of approaches producing a range of differing standards for similar circumstances across the region.”
The draft strategy says shared parking might help reduce parking needs: “For example, parking required for office development during the day, or public parking facilities, could be available for residential parking overnight. Security concerns would have to be overcome in both instances.”
On parking in apartment blocks & parking tied to office leases, the draft strategy says: “The cost of parking for residential (& commercial) units is conventionally passed on to the owners or tenants indirectly through the purchase price or rental payment (“bundled”), rather than directly through a separate charge. This means that tenants or owners are not given the opportunity to purchase only as much parking as they need, and are not able to save money by using fewer parking spaces. By including the parking cost with the unit’s cost, the parking is automatically paid for, even if it is not wanted or needed. If people can save money by having fewer cars, they may make different choices.
“The removal (or reduction) of minimum parking requirements permits developers to offer apartments without parking, or with a single space rather than 2 spaces, thus providing choice and improving affordability. Care must be taken to ensure that adjacent streets are protected from displaced resident parking. The availability of adequate on-street short-stay parking for visitors should also be ensured.
“An alternative is to enable unbundled parking, ie, renting or selling parking spaces separately, rather than automatically including them with the building space. High minimum parking requirements discourage developers from unbundling parking because the development is required to provide enough parking to satisfy the demand when parking is free, rather than only the number of spaces that residents would pay for, if given the option.
“For unbundled parking to function efficiently, building owners must be able to lease or sell excess parking spaces (such as through a parking brokerage service), and local government needs to regulate on-street parking to avoid spillover problems that could result if residents use on-street parking to avoid paying for parking spaces. The role of unbundled parking in higher-density residential developments, and techniques for facilitating it, should be investigated.”
On licensing to enforce long-stay parking controls, the draft strategy says: “The provision of short-stay or visitor car parking is generally encouraged by councils. It is important to the commercial vitality of the area concerned and has limited impact on weekday peak-period congestion. However, enforcement of short-term parking in commercially run public facilities is necessary to ensure that it remains allocated for short-stay use.
“There is a risk that such parking might be used for long-stay parking in the absence of monitoring. A possible alternative is the use of licensing rather than the application of consent conditions to ensure ongoing compliance. The concept is to issue the developer or operator with a license to operate paid public parking, renewable annually or over a longer timeframe, with conditions attached.
“Territorial authorities would become parking facility licensing agencies. Anyone wishing to provide paid public parking would need to apply for a license from the territorial authority concerned, and would need to comply with the conditions of the licence. Legislation is likely to be required to give territorial authorities the necessary powers. Further research is required into the feasibility & implications of this type of approach.”
On its suggestion of phasing out long-stay commuter parking, such as early-bird & optional leased parking, the draft strategy suggests the cut-off time for early-bird parking could be brought forward to, say, 7am, and the discount re-applied, say between 9-10am as an incentive to travel outside the peak, consistent with encouraging the travel demand management policy of encouraging more flexible working hours.
“Leased parking is also available in council-owned parking facilities. Some is provided as a requirement for resource consent, but much is optional. In principle, both early-bird & optional leased parking in council-owned public parking facilities should only be provided where they are consistent with the pertaining parking management policy. Where this is not the case, they should be phased out over time.”
The draft strategy says parking management measures should be designed & implemented as a complementary package: “To assist in developing such packages, it is recommended that councils prepare a comprehensive parking management plan for each centre, with initial emphasis on the high-density centres (& corridors) identified in the regional policy statement.
It said these plans would enable developers to be fully informed of the future parking supply & management regime applying to the centre: “This could help give developers the confidence to put forward developments with a more innovative approach to parking. A further important function of comprehensive plans is to integrate the supply & management of parking for the centre with planned improvements to the passenger transport system serving the centre. This will assist in giving ARTA (the regional tr